Speak Out Against Copyright Holders Destroying True Property Rights

from the can-you-resell-your-stuff? dept

For a while now, we’ve been following a series of very scary court cases that could take away your ability to sell physical products you own, by using a bizarre interpretation of copyright law by the courts. You can click back on that link to read some of the background, but the short version is that courts are suggesting that if a physical product is manufactured outside the US, but anywhere on it includes something covered by copyright (an etching, content, software, etc.) then the entire product cannot be sold without permission from the copyright holder. The reasoning makes so little sense as to be unbelievable. Basically, it says that those products weren’t made under US copyright law — so they don’t get “first sale” rights — but they are still covered by copyright law, so selling them is copyright infringement.

This is nonsensical for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is about to hear the latest such case, after ending up with a split court the last time around. The reason it was split was because Justice Kagan recused herself, due to being involved in the case prior to becoming a Justice. Her involvement? Penning the filing of the US government against first sale rights. So it’s very possible that she’ll continue to retain that viewpoint on the court and basically kill off your ability to resell any good manufactured outside the US without permission. This is scary stuff.

While the issue is before the court, it’s still important to get people to speak out about this. A few public interest groups have put together a petition site called You’ve Been Owned: Don’t Let Copyright Trolls Steal Our Property Rights! and Citizens for Ownership Rights. The goal is to get the Obama administration to actually recommend preserving first sale rights (contrary to its earlier position). And, failing that, get Congress to change the laws to fix this problem which will drive many American manufacturers to move overseas. This is, of course, part of the real problem: the language of the statute is awkward in a way that lets the court come to a completely nonsensical and contradictory result.

What’s important to recognize is that, for all the talk by copyright maximalists to falsely claim that copyright is no different than real property, and to insist we must “defend property rights” for copyright, here’s a true case of property rights being under attack — and it’s because of an overly aggressive use of copyright. The idea that you don’t actually own what you bought is an anathema to true property rights. That companies may be able to use copyright law to block you from selling used goods is a massive encroachment on individuals’ property rights. If all those copyright maximalists truly believed in property rights (rather than the truth: that they support a government granted monopoly privilege that benefits themselves) they, too, would support this effort against the demolition of first sale rights.

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Comments on “Speak Out Against Copyright Holders Destroying True Property Rights”

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Prashanth (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Never mind. This was what my original comment was supposed to say:

If a young child has imaginary friends, that’s OK for a while, but that child should have a good number of real friends as well.
If that child promises to play with the real friends but uses the imaginary friends to drive away the real friends and break real friendships, that’s a serious problem.
Now replace “child” with “politician” and “friend” with “property”. The scenario is still very troubling.

Minimum Wage Shill says:

Re: Re:

Here are a few pointers at being an IP extremist shill.

A: logic, reasoning, and facts don’t matter. Avoid using arguments that posses these properties

B: who cares about punctuation and capitalization. even spelling is not important. if you mispell a word don’t worry about it.

C: if you don’t have a valid point to make then you sentences should be so ambiguous that they confuse people into thinking there is a valid point there somewhere. also run on sentences and poor grammar are a plus because those who employ shills will love you for it.

D: you seem overqualified to be a shill. you need to get much much much dumber. catch phrases like economic growth engine and jobs are good but you must remember to use personal attacks against mike and anyone who disagrees with you as well. your sentences make too much sense and they need to resort to something like pirate mike, you idiot shill for google, you want to defend property rights yet you’re against intellectual property rights. what the heck, stupid shill pirate, you just want to steal everything from the poor starving artists (poor starving artists is a plus) and think that you’re defending property rights when your defending stealing.

Any questions?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I was thinking of the end result. Ford, GM, etc moving to Asia. No one being able to sell their used cars or car parts. No ability to transfer ownership. The whole country would become a car grave yard. The price of steel and aluminum would go through the roof. All manufactured goods would become prohibitively expensive.

Then some bright entrepreneur would show up and sell stuff you can resell and wipe out the other companies.

Anonymous Coward says:

So if you buy products outside the US and this is supported that you have lost right of first sale, how long do you think it will take for every matchstick maker in the rest of the world to add a copyright?

And when you buy, you would then have to consider, is it worth buying for life, even if the life expectancy is 2 days because you can’t resell it? Gives a whole new look to the meaning of buying domestically.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is the really cool thing about trying to change meanings to suit an unsuitable purpose.
Trying to use laws and propaganda to bolster imaginary property rights is actively damaging and undermining the real thing.

Theft is no longer depriving people of goods or currency but now is about enjoying the use of something for which you have not paid a rights holder.

So, soon, we should have the situation where listening to the radio or watching network television should be illegal.
“Ah, but no, with radio or television, someone has paid the rights holder on your behalf, so you see, it is different.”
So now the theory is that if you have a reasonable belief that a host or broadcast have paid for the rights you are ok?
Belief based law, the best you can buy and so flexible.

Anonymous Coward says:

As someone you would call a copyright maximalist, I have a strong belief in property rights. It seems like the Omega watch case is a big stretch. If I sold my iPod with 1000 legally acquired songs, that should not conflict. It’s a real mess when you talk about re-selling devices with infringing content though. Then selling an iPod with infringing content is pretty much the same as a CD or thumb drive. While it’s probably unenforceable at a low level, I can see problems with resellers selling a hard drive full of infringing material claiming to be protected because they’re actually selling the drive and the content is incidental.

Andrew F (profile) says:

Re: Re:

One possible solution — compare the value of the infringing content vs. the value of the rest of the property.

So, in the case of the CD with unauthorized songs, that’s be problematic. Because the CD itself is cheap relative to the unauthorized songs.

But in the case of the shampoo bottle with an infringing label, not a problem. The value of the label is tiny compared to the value of the shampoo, so suing for copyright infringement is inappropriate.

Another possibility — use “actual damages” for copyright infringement and proportion it accordingly. So in the case of the shampoo bottle, the actual damage of using a copyrighted label would probably amount of pennies. If the right holder wants to sue, they can, but the damages probably wouldn’t justify the legal expenses.

Anonymous Coward says:

“If all those copyright maximalists truly believed in property rights (rather than the truth: that they support a government granted monopoly privilege that benefits themselves)”

To be fair, both types of property rights are fundamentally government granted monopoly privileges that benefits those who hold them.
With actual property it is just about acceptable due to the finite nature of physical goods and the need to apportion them to the best effect. Not actually because property rights achieve this well, but apart from the occasional correction due to public need the other possible solutions are no better and many are worse.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Keep in mind that the product doesn’t just need to be manufactured outside the U.S., but purchased outside the U.S. as well. If someone manufactures copyrighted media in China, but then imports it to the U.S. to sell domestically, they have consented for U.S. copyright law to govern the sale and first sale rights will attach. The only way manufacturers will be able to strip away first sale rights domestically is if they never sell their products domestically. This is less about destroying first sale rights generally and more about preserving segmented markets (where they don’t want cheaper versions of their products produced specifically for third-world consumption to compete with the higher-priced versions in first-world markets, where they know the population can afford the mark-up). Not saying it can’t be perniciously used, but it’s not quite as dire as I think some people are interpreting.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No and no. In both case, you’re purchased a foreign product, not manufactured under U.S. copyright and not made subject to U.S. copyright by the manufacturer itself (or someone authorized on their behalf) lawfully importing it. The only way the Chinese-made goods would be subject to first sale here in the U.S. is if the manufacturer authorized them to be brought into the U.S. for sale. I think there are some exceptions in the law for small quantities of goods purchased for personal use, but not for commercial operations (like someone independently setting up shop to buy foreign-made goods specifically to resell them to U.S. buyers).

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Keep in mind that the product doesn’t just need to be manufactured outside the U.S., but purchased outside the U.S. as well.

So all it takes is a manufacturer making and exclusive sales deal to a 3rd party* import/export company? I’m sure that will never happen.

*run by the manufacturer’s CEO’s golfing buddy

This is less about destroying first sale rights generally and more about preserving segmented markets

So, two birds with one stone, eh?

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As soon as the manufacturer authorizes someone in the chain of distribution to bring the products into the U.S., the right of exhaustion (first sale) is triggered. That’s what the Omega case spelled out. Unless the manufacturer plans to never offer their product in the U.S. and just assume everyone who wants it will import it from abroad, they’ll have to accept some first sale attachment at some point.

I mentioned this in an earlier thread on the subject, but I actually think this is an interesting place where the Techdirt positions are in conflict. When the SSRC report in Piracy in Emerging Economies came out, it was championed as vindicating business model solutions to infringement rather than legal solutions. Specifically, it demonstrated that media was simply priced far too high in emerging economies, leading directly to piracy, and the solution was to make media more affordable. But if media was universally priced at levels acceptable to the most impoverished nations, its manufacturers would likely never recoup the costs of development. So the solution was to segment the markets, and price each regional offering according to what its population could afford. But if anyone can just pluck up the copies available in the cheapest market and resell them in the most expensive market, that business model is destroyed, and we’ve taken away one of the main methods for copyright holders to actually provide affordable options to developing nations.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As soon as the manufacturer authorizes someone in the chain of distribution to bring the products into the U.S., the right of exhaustion (first sale) is triggered. That’s what the Omega case spelled out. Unless the manufacturer plans to never offer their product in the U.S. and just assume everyone who wants it will import it from abroad, they’ll have to accept some first sale attachment at some point.

But we’re not talking about the Omega case any more. This case said the opposite of this. It said it doesn’t matter. If the product is made outside the US… no first sale.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I’m actually very much struggling to keep up with Techdirt during my prep, haha. I almost never go into the threads anymore… but I wanted to make an exception for this post. 🙂 Thanks kindly! Just gotta treat it like a horrible, horrible full-time job for the next four weeks… oh, how I wish there was *any* intellectual property tested. Other than boring tort claims (trade secrets violations, etc.) that is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: So what you are saying that you are a Marxist?

“In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly?only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”

It sounds like this is what you are advocating, ‘taking’ from each according to his ability (to pay, by pricing higher) and ‘giving’ it all to your corporate masters (since they really really NEED that new island and cabin cruiser for their next big corporate party).

Corporatism… the new communism (see there really are terrorists behind this mess whole mess, the EU wasn’t that far off, we have just been looking in the wrong places, the real ‘terrorists’ (aka threat to our way of life) are sitting in CEO and Executive board positions, collecting fat ‘bonus’ checks for decimating our economy and shifting as much of it as they can to their corporate buddies).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t think you are being quite creative enough – most manufacturers don’t sell their products directly to the end consumer; they sell to a retailer who sells to the consumer. The manufacture takes place in China, the transfer of ownership takes place in China (FOB factory instead of FOB destination?), and an explicit permission from the manufacturer (read: copyright holder) to the retailer allowing them to resell it and no permission to the end consumer.

Maybe a bit of a stretch, but I can’t say I don’t believe they wouldn’t try if they knew they could kill the used market.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If everyone in the official chain of distribution were located outside the U.S., this would work. But that would mean the copyright holders would have to accept not having a robust domestic market for their goods in return for stripping away first sale rights, since the only way to purchase their goods would be by either direct import or from an unlawful domestic importer/reseller. I can’t imagine that making much market sense for most companies. Ultimately, I believe they’re less interested in the casual buyer’s ability to resell what they bought than they are with competing against their own products as sold by commercial-scale resellers who are plucking up versions of the product meant for low-income regions to flip in high-income nations.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It could theoretically block it, or it least dangle liability over it. Things become very messy when you start having many links in the chain of title and awareness of the good’s origins become shrouded in mystery to subsequent buyers, though. Right now, the chief area of enforcement in this field is when manufacturers create versions of their product for multiple regions at varying price points they believe are appropriate for those regions; they want to prevent resellers from snatching up copies in low-priced regions to flip in high-priced regions. Enforcement seems unlikely against people selling individual copies of works that aren’t subject to that particularized business plan, but just having the uncertainty there is chilling enough. This is definitely an area of copyright law that needs to be vigilantly supervised to curtail abuse, and I’m not sure courts are cognizant of just how much collateral damage they might do in propping up these business models.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Keep in mind that the product doesn’t just need to be manufactured outside the U.S., but purchased outside the U.S. as well.

I don’t believe that’s correct under the Kirtsaeng ruling.

Note 44 in that ruling reads:

Kirtsaeng argues that this holding is undesirable as a matter of public policy because it may permit a plaintiff to vitiate the first sale doctrine by ?manufactur[ing] all of its volumes overseas only to then ship them into the U.S. for domestic sales.? Defendant-Appellant?s Br. at 21. Phrased differently, it is argued that any such decision may allow a copyright holder to completely control the resale of its product in the United States by producing its goods abroad and then immediately importing them for initial distribution. In this sense, the copyright holder would arguably enjoy the proverbial ?best of both worlds? because, in theory, the consumer could not rely on the first sale doctrine to re-sell the imported work. In other words, the copyright holder would have an incentive to?outsource? publication to foreign locations to circumvent the availability of the first sale doctrine as a defense for consumers wishing to re-sell their works in the domestic market. The result might be that American manufacturing would contract along with the protections of the first sale doctrine. Kirtsaeng argues that this could not possibly have been Congress?s intent. We acknowledge the force of this concern, but it does not affect or alter our interpretation of the Copyright Act.

You are correct that the *Omega* case said that. But not the court in Kirtsaeng. So I think you’re underplaying the actual level of concern here. It *is* a pretty dire situation.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I actually haven’t read the full Kirtsaeng ruling, so thanks for pointing that out. IIRC, that case still revolved around Omega-like facts, correct? The guy bought foreign textbooks and resold them to U.S. customers? If so, the goods didn’t make the “round-trip” described in Omega [lawful importation by the manufacturer], so the Second Circuit shouldn’t have needed to address the defendant’s argument as anything more than dicta. But you’re right, once it gets to the Supreme Court, all bets are off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There was no “round trip” in Omega as was the case in L’Anza. Omega manufactures its products in Switzerland and exports them internationally. L’Anza manufactures is products domestically and exports them internationally.

Here we have textbooks made in the Far East, which textbooks were then shipped to the US.

As Justice Ginsburg noted in her L’Anza concurrence (which was a 9-0 decision), the court did not decide what the outcome would have been had the products bearing the copyrighted work been manufactured overseas and then shipped to the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

The “Omega” case had nothing to do with the watch, per se. It was limited solely to the “work” on the back of the watch. Had that “work” been removed before importation into the US, copyright law would have had no applicability.

Perhaps there are some highly unique circumstances where a foreign sale does not constitute a “first sale” under US law, but the litany of “panics” raised by some commenters do not withstand even modest scrutiny.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Perhaps there are some highly unique circumstances where a foreign sale does not constitute a “first sale” under US law, but the litany of “panics” raised by some commenters do not withstand even modest scrutiny

Highly unique like… selling books bought outside the US and trying to resell them inside the US?

Oh wait, that’s not unique at all.

As per usual, you try to downplay a massive problem. I don’t understand why you seem to have no undersanding of copyright law, and yet pretend you do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I see that you are a fan of the Petitioner and the amici filing briefs in support of the petitioner. The Petitioner cites an extensive number or law review articles, engages in a listing of all the terrible things that “may” transpire if the Second Circuit decision is not overturned,
attempts to use Omega v. Costco as if it has precedential effect, and in its citation of caselaw in both its petition and reply identifies a “smidgeon” of cases actually decided by the Supreme Court, only a very few of which (e.g., Boobs-Merrill v. Straus, L’Anza v. Quality King) relate to substantive copyright law. The few other Supreme Court cases pertain to either other examples of unrelated legislation using phrases similar to those in Title 17, or else trod the path on the patently obvious rules associated with statutory construction.

Obviously you find the petition and reply persuasive. I am not sanguine that this is the case. This is not to say that I find them unpersuasive, but only that in my experience I believe that Petitioner faces an uphill battle. Patry’s treatise cuts against the Petitioner. Nimmer’s (Melville and David) treatise cuts against the Petitioner.

Your reliance upon Note 44 is inapt. While the circuit court does note that Appellant’s (now Petitioner’s) argument “…that this could not possibly have been Congress?s intent”, the 2nd Circuit did not by into what may have been Congress’ intent because the court’s role is to interpret statutory language, and not to engage in idle speculation about what Congress may have intended.

You call the problem “massive”. Perhaps it may seem that way, but it does bear mentioning that many of the “panics” raised by the Petitioner and supporting amici do not reflect how the process of development, manufacturing, and sales typically occur when the developer is a US company.

If you insist on casting aspersions in my direction, gratuitously mocking my bona fides with respect to US copyright law, at the very least you should demonstrate more that a general knowledge of copyright law and acknowledge that you have a strong bias in favor of limiting its scope to the absolute minimum possible.

I happen to agree with the comments submitted by the AIPLA. It is an issue that deserves consideration and guidance in order to enable those engaged in commerce to have a “rule” that is predictable. Uniformity of the law throughout or nation is an imperative. As for what that rule would or should be, I express no opinion.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nothing you said actually matters or mean something in this case. It doesn’t matter where you bought any physical item, it is YOURS TO USE, MODIFY OR BREAK to your heart’s content. The fact that even damn shapes can be copyrighted (see Apple vs Samsung) would be very problematic if the US chooses to part ways with the first sale doctrine and allows copyright holders to have a say on how ppl deal with their goods. Actually, as things are progressing lately, I support a full abolition of copyright. And I am usually the first one to agree we need protection mechanisms for intangible creations from commercial exploitation.

And we have the annoying fact that the US thinks they are the holy center of all universe and foreign things are somewhat subject to different common sense, physics etc. Annoying and worrying.

mikey4001 (profile) says:

two party system, FTW!

For all the perceived threats that the Obama administration allegedly poses to the good people of ‘Murrka (homosexual indoctrination, free dope, dead babies, no borders, muslim conspiracy, etc.), it seems strange that the right wing in congress is deafeningly silent on matters such as this. This case involves individual rights, property rights, government overreach, activist courts, and, of course, the Hollywood Agenda. Seems that this would be right up the old conservative wheelhouse. It’s even an election year. Yet, all I hear is crickets and tumbleweeds.

So, if communism is when the people who control the government also control the means of production, what do you call it when the people who control the means of production also control the government?

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: two party system, FTW!

So, if communism is when the people who control the government also control the means of production, what do you call it when the people who control the means of production also control the government?


“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini

anymouse_cowherd (profile) says:

Re: How will I know if I'm a criminal?

I’ll just be safer to assume it has some copyright attached and you should for the good of the children, country and humanity just toss it…

I actually spent 5 minutes looking around trying to find something I thought might be open to reselling under this. Pretty much without fail I could find someway to torture out a line of reasoning that probably could be argued on copyright grounds and knowing the penchant for lawyers and courts lately…

josh says:

Re: How will I know if I'm a criminal?

not just flea market (yard sale), ebay or craig’s list…

There are more other thing they are plan to do like

-Libraries would not be able to lend out books.

-Redbox and Blockbuster would not be able to rent out movies

-Donating clothes to charitable organizations would be cnsidered unauthorized distributions

I could not belivie that libaries cant lend a book! are you crazy? donating clothes is illeagl? cant rent movies? what the hell wrong with those company!?!?!? greed!

Chosen Reject (profile) says:


I’m very conflicted. On the one hand I want the Supreme Court to rule based on the law. On the other hand, I’m worried about what will happen if Congress touches copyright law (I can make a single line code change, but I don’t think Congress has ever been able to do that). On the other hand, if the Supreme Court had any idea of what the Constitution actually said then it’d be obvious that getting rid of first sale rights is not promoting the progress.

Given all of that, it’s obvious that we should expect the worst. SCOTUS will get rid of our first sale rights, and then Congress will say they are fixing it by passing a law making copyright last twice as long, eliminates fair use, raises the statutory damages, makes all infringement criminal, and allows warrantless surveillance to detect copyright violations.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: autos...???

Nah, it’s easy. Just be sure to sign for a license with the proper labels, studios, designers, [insert long list of patent, trademark and copyright owners here]. But please do not forget to add a public performance rights while at it so you can actually drive your gorgeous BMW around the town and show it publicly. If it’s electric beware of the length of the cord!

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

… and the consequences when the entire population of the country ignores this nonsense, imports stuff anyway, and gets their stuff they already payed for confiscated at the border? (ok, yeah, i know a lot of people in the US probably don’t import much of anything personally, so it’s not the Entire population, but it’s still gonna be significant, i think.)

also: where did you think smuggling came from?

Andrew F (profile) says:


Just to illustrate how ridiculous this is, the actual two cases that gave rise to this were:

(1) Costco legally bought Omgea watches abroad at a lower price and resold them in the U.S. Omega sued for copyright infringement of the etching on the back of a watch.

(2) A distributor sold legally purchased shampoo bottles within the U.S. The shampoo manufacturer sued over the LABELS on the bottle.

Labels! Under that logic, EVERY PACKAGED GOOD is subject to copyright law.

velox says:

Re: Labels

Don’t forget about the copyrighted firmware that is in just about everything that has electronic components — not just your printer and camera, but your washer and your refrigerator, etc.

This is what happens when laws are written (intentionally?) in a vague or broad manner that invites creative lawyers to stretch them beyond their original purpose.

Anonymous Coward says:

What’s important to recognize is that, for all the talk by copyright maximalists to falsely claim that copyright is no different than real property, and to insist we must “defend property rights” for copyright, here’s a true case of property rights being under attack — and it’s because of an overly aggressive use of copyright.

Um, no one is arguing that copyrights are just like real property. Real property refers to land, you know. Obviously an intangible piece of property like a copyright is different than a tangible piece of land. Both are examples of property, but they are different types of property. In some ways they are similar, and in some ways they differ. You’re just exaggerating and being extreme, setting up a straw man fallacy.

The idea that you don’t actually own what you bought is an anathema to true property rights.

Nope. You do own exactly what you bought. For you to whine about someone not being able to exercise rights in the thing he bought that are not his to exercise is anathema to true property rights. You are suggesting that people should have rights that they didn’t bargain for. You’ve got it completely backwards. Sorry, Pirate Mike, but you’re just wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mike is not arguing that copyright is like real property – it is the people who repeatedly refer to ‘copyright infringement’ as ‘theft’ and pursue lawsuits attempting to exclude first sale rights based on copyright that are conflating copyrights with real property.

As for ‘owning what you bought’, are you even remotely familiar with the precedent that Mike is referring to? The specific case is that Costco BOUGHT watches overseas, then SOLD them in the U.S., and the courts ruled that they were violating the copyright on a little image on the back of the watch.

You are so wrong and backwards, I’m amazed you manage to take even moderately meaningful quotes, because you clearly have less reading comprehension than a ritalin-addled 6 six year old. This is about real property, stuff you can hold in your hand, even WEAR on your goddamn hand, that the courts have held you do not have the right to sell. All other facts – where it was manufactured, where it was purchased – are absolutely ephemeral to the core matter here; that it under current law companies can prevent you from selling a piece of real property that you legally purchased.

If you honestly believe that it is reasonable to state that the right to sell real property is something that must be ‘bargained’ for when you purchase it, I have to ask how much you’ve paid in your life to the manufacturers of anything you’ve ever sold.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Real property means land.

? 8. Real Property

The term ?real property? as it is used in this Restatement, means those interests in land described herein in ?? 14-18 inclusive.

Restatement (First) of Property ? 8 (1936).

real property.

(18c) Land and anything growing on, attached to, or erected on it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land.

Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009).

I know “Mike is not arguing that copyright is like real property.” What I said was that Mike is setting up a straw man by claiming copyright maximalists say that copyright is the same as real property. Both are types of property, but they are obviously not the same in all ways.

As far as owning what you bought, I’m exactly right. When you buy a piece of property, that property may be encumbered by the rights of others (such as an easement or a copyright). Or it may be subject to certain laws and regulations. You buy that property with whatever conditions are attached to it.

Insulting my intelligence looks silly when you don’t even know what “real property” is. You get EXACTLY what you bargained for. You have said NOTHING that disproves my point. If you didn’t bargain for, say, the right to import a copyrighted image, even if on the back of watch, then you don’t have that right since you didn’t bargain for it. It’s really, really simple.

What Mike is advocating is anathema to property law. He thinks people should be able to exercise proprietary rights that they do not possess. That’s the definition of being against true property rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I apologize for assuming real property contains all things which are both property and real; s/real/physical/g

Mike’s entire point is that there is no “right” to import a copyrighted image – you cannot bargain for it, it does not exist, and the courts have accepted some crazy interpretation of the law that brought it into being with no precedent or possible intention on behalf of the people who made the law. There is no condition attached, and it is an anathema against true property rights – to borrow the turn of phrase – to suggest that there should be.

How can you possibly argue that copyright covers whether you can take a physical good from one place to another, or whether you can sell it? The copyright holder placed the mark on the physical good, then sold it. What business is it of theirs if I choose to sell it, or where. No “copy” is being made for them to exert any “rights” over.

My friend moved to Japan and brought his car over – I’m sure the manufacturer’s logo is covered by copyright and trademark. Should he be precluded from selling it, or should he be legally required to “bargain” for that right, or ship the car back to the US before selling it?

It is crazy to argue that copyright law should have any place in limiting what actions can be taken after the sale of a physical good. Copyrights are NOT true property, and for them to reduce the rights you can exert over the property you own is, again, not compatible with being in favor of strong property rights. I suppose that could be the crux of your argument; that the rights from copyright are just as “real” as any rights you have with respect to, say, a watch, but that is all on its own against true property rights. A legal contrivance created by the government should not restrict what I as a private citizen or company can do with something after I purchase it. The watch is property no matter how you look at it; a copyright is “property” because of congress. I don’t think it is at all incompatible with being in favor of property rights to feel that the rights created by copyright should be subordinate to those associated with physical property

All that said, thank you (really, sincerely) for not being an ass and just using the real property thing to ignore everything else.

VMax says:

You guys aren't getting it

Loss of first sale would be a win. Part of the equation of why we pay high prices is because we think of re-sale value. Re-sale is impossible, initial value goes down. “I’m sorry, I’m not going to pay $X.XX for this because I’ll be stuck with it and have to throw it away when I’m done.”
It will be good for the poor. “Hey Jim, you’re homeless, how did you end up with a Porsche?” “Well that guy just bought a Mercedes, and since he couldn’t sell it, he just gave it to me.”
Gifts to charity would go up along with the tax write-offs that go with them.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Do you have democracy?

Far too much, actually. What we’ve lost is what actually made us unique: a republic based on checks and balances and inalienable human rights. “Inalienable.” That means, even if 99% of the people want to screw over the other 1%, they can’t. Unfortunately, we’ve lost that check on democracy itself by degrading to a two-party system with an increasingly party-first agenda. Two parties = simple majority democracy. The majority of people will always vote for government handouts when it benefits them, and pure democracies always end in economic collapse.

Life, liberty, and property were supposed to be guaranteed, but “democracy” has taken all three away in the name of “safety,” “fairness,” etc.

Michael says:

In summary, this will render the first-sale doctrine meaningless, further encourage the outsourcing of jobs, attempt to criminalize US citizens, and extend corporate power to the point where they maintain control over products even after they’ve already been purchased.

Time to face reality — we’re being systematically dismantled and destroyed from within.

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